Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. With an estimated population of 26.4 million. The name "Nepal" is first recorded in texts from the Vedic period of the Indian subcontinent, the era in ancient India when Hinduism was founded, the predominant religion of the country. Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. The Himalaya blocks cold winds from Central Asia in the winter and forms the northern limit of the monsoon wind patterns. In a land once thickly forested, deforestation is a major problem in all regions, with resulting erosion and degradation of ecosystems.